Clay Shirky has another great essay out, which I recommend you go read now.
Just like Robert Sayre, I find it resonating with me, in a few ways. First, I certainly see the societal possibilities of amplifying what feels like an already existing trend. Second, the writers’ strike was for me a great personal kick in the pants that I needed to watch less TV. It’s as if the drug dealer is out of dope, and so you find that you can just do other things with your time, and you find you don’t miss the thing! Third, while my thinking on Thunderbird 3 has long been about how to make it fit within a web-enabled world, Clay’s piece explains both the higher level why: “enabling an architecture of participation”, and a metaphorical how: “mice” everywhere (if you didn’t read the essay, that won’t make sense), so that Thunderbird developers, add-on developers, communication channel providers, and most broadly Thunderbird users can find mice that fit their hands.